Tuesday, January 30, 2007
On the American Dream: And hence, I ponder, what is meant by the American Dream? Is it more of an ideal or a reality? For most Americans, the Dream contains a threefold purpose relating to economics, politics, and society. With economics, Americans wish to attain a level of comfort through financial stability. In many ways, the economic side of the Dream embodies the notion of what it means to be an American, and thus, it serves as the most important element. This claim can be made because without financial stability, the political and social meanings of the Dream become less pertinent. No man is going to think about abstract concepts like equality and liberty unless he first has food in his belly and a roof over his head. And therefore, economics remains the most fundamental interest of all Americans aspiring to capture a little piece of the Dream. Jefferson first constituted the Dream in the Declaration of Independence. Yet when one considers the 'peculiar' institution of slavery and its lingering vestiges (Jim Crow), the Dream loses its potency. It would take the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. to reconstitute the Dream for both the 19th and 20th centuries respectively.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
On Historical Antiquity: And hence, I say, historical antiquity has taught postmodern man many valuable lessons about how to live! Not all was lost when man transitioned from the ancient to the modern. Since the Greeks and the Romans tended to live under a system of hierarchical morality, they were able to fashion highly efficient societies given that the responsibility of the whole rested only with a few. The ancients recognized the fundamental inequality of all mankind, and thus, they systematically limited the freedom of certain peoples. Upon further investigation into the notions of freedom and equality, many people will come to the conclusion that these ideas embody large hindrances to human progress. In reality, most people are not capable of handling the responsibility that comes with freedom. Today, postmodern man cherishes the equality of all mankind, and therefore, he works to protect the freedom of every individual. And yet, the central question remains, how did the ancient values of hierarchy and inequality become so inverted by the time of postmodern man? Many would say the answer to this question resides deeply rooted within the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
On the Evolution of Language: And hence, I ponder, how is it that words have changed over time? Much like humans, the languages that we employ as a means of communication and expression have evolved with time. Meanings, sounds, and structure all tend to comprise the most fundamental changes that have occurred to languages. New words are born and old words die, but for the most part, many words simply morph. The meanings of words often evolve and when the linguistic phenomenon known as "semantic change" happens; the ideas that the words reflect change as well. The sounds of words also change with time and when the linguistic phenomenon known as "phonetic change" occurs; languages tend to diverge from somewhat common ancestral roots. For example, English is a Low Germanic language that broke off from its Germanic origins around the fifth century AD. The last basic area of language evolution concerns the linguistic field of morphology. This body refers to the physical changes that have happened to the structure of words over time. That is, morphology regards the addition and subtraction of various prefixes and suffixes to words as they evolve over time.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
On the Divine Dialectic: And hence, I say, Faith is the most important element of human existence! It is the most divine and evolved idea in the human realm of thought and as such it is so powerful that it becomes difficult to speak of or even describe. It is the sixth sense and by far the most solid component of the irrational side of the human experience. It begins precisely where thinking ends, and thus, it comprises the most terrifying feature of life in general. In fact, most people tend to avoid any confrontation with Faith. These people are often referred to as Agnostics or Atheists not simply because they refuse to believe or oppose the notion of a supernatural Being, but rather they have not yet come to terms with their own Faith heritage. And yet, the meaning of New Testament Christianity (LOVE) has become so incredibly skewed in recent centuries that it is hard to blame the Agnostics and Atheists for not facing Faith with a more open-minded approach. The real question then becomes how to call Christians back to a more genuine form of Christianity, i.e., the Christianity that existed during the first three centuries after Christ's crucifixion.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
On Communal Fraternity: And hence, I ponder, what does it mean to live in communal fraternity? Is it to live in a community where every one recognizes fundamental human rights? Or is it defined by the Faith you hold and the income you earn? For some, the only basic human right is the right to live, which encompasses the right to preserve one's life through morally acceptable means. Expanding upon this notion, however, the Marxists teach us that there are more fundamental human rights than the simple right to live. In the former Soviet Union, for example, citizens were guaranteed a job, an education, and healthcare. Granted, the quality of education and the subsequent job/healthcare it led to were not always up to the Soviet citizen to decide. Therefore, the government directed the individual where to attend school, work, and receive healthcare. By many Western standards, the lengthy extent of governmental oversight in its citizens' basic affairs would be considered undemocratic, and thus, the Soviet experiment with full-fledged communism can be perceived as a failure. In fact, Russia was one of the last places that Marx would have anticipated a communist revolution, as the means of production were non-existent and the working-class conditions were not ripe.